Food Preservation: Drying Herbs
Place of Learning: 
Garden Classroom
Contributor

Elie Rabinowitz
North Country School and Camp Treetops
Lake Placid, NY

Tags: 
Herbs
Garden
Preservation
Drying
Summary: 
In this lesson, students will learn one of many ways to preserve the fall harvest. They will learn appropriate ways to harvest herbs from the garden, how to safely handle garden tools, and two simple methods to preserve herbs for use throughout the winter and spring.
Student Learning Goals & Objectives: 

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Safely utilize garden shears
  • Explain the process of drying herbs
  • Explain how drying herbs helps to preserve them
  • Identify a dehydrator
Assessments: 

During this lesson, students will:

  • Discuss the many manners of preserving food for the winter
  • Discuss multiple ways to dehydrate food and herbs in particular
  • Identify and use a dehydrator among many kitchen tools
  • Demonstrate how to safely use garden shears
Materials & Prep: 
Materials
  • Garden planted with herbs (ex - mint, lemon balm, parsley, oregano)
  • Herb collection baskets
  • Garden shears
  • Dehydrator
  • Twine (for bundling herbs for drying and to create a place to hang from)
  • Mason jars
  • Herbs that have previously dried
  • Bread, oil, salt, pepper
  • Cups, plates, bread knife
Before you begin
  • Plant your herb garden
  • Gather your materials
  • Create job board, listing activity and jobs (shear, gather, bundle, label)
  • Create prompts for opening and closing circle
  • Make some simple tisane/herbal tea (add dried mint and lemon balm to water)
Procedure Steps: 
FULL GROUP, 1O MINUTES
1
QUESTIONS FOR OPENING CIRCLE

Teachers lead an introductory discussion about herbs.

  1. What are herbs?
  2. Who has used them before?
  3. Can anyone name any or see any right now?
  4. How do we use herbs?
Full Group, 15-20 Minutes
2
IN THE FIELD

Herb garden tour.

  1. At each stop on the tour
    • Smell herbs
    • Taste herbs
    • Observe them for how to identify in the future
  2. Return to the circle to form groups
    • Assign groups for harvesting
  3. Each group will harvest herbs and then return to kitchen
    • Adult group leader should teach proper harvest skills depending on the plant.
    • Pass out herb baskets and shears
SMALL GROUPS, 40-45 MINUTES
3
IN THE KITCHEN

Two activities will occur in the kitchen.

  1. One group will prepare tisanes
    • Clean a handful of glass jars
    • Pour hot water into the jars
    • Add an appropriate number and combination of herbs to each jar
    • Label each jar according to what you put in them
  2. One group will tie herbs with twine
    • Tie sprigs or branches into small bunches.
    • Hang the bunches up to dry, leaves downward, wrapped loosely in muslin or thin paper bags to keep out dust and to catch falling leaves or seeds.
    • Allow seven to 10 days to dry, depending on the size of the branches and humidity. They’re completely dry if the leaves sound like crisp corn flakes when crushed.
    • Label each set of herbs.
  3. Regroup to taste test the tisanes and tour the now hanging herbs (10 minutes)
FULL GROUP, 5 MINUTES
4
Closing Circle

Teacher facilitates a conversation to end the class.

  1. What did you learn today?
  2. What did you like today?
  3. What was your favorite tisane flavor?
Contributors: 

North Country School and Camp Treetops